Mary Lou Serafine issued the following comments in reaction to the Decision Meeting Material issued by the Texas Sunset Commission before its January 11 meeting:
“I think the Sunset Commission’s recommendation that the legislature enact another licensing regime for psychologists, instead of merely certifying them, is a mistake.
“A certification for psychologists would let the State put their stamp of approval on certain practitioners. A license allows the State to go the extra step of banning and punishing people who talk about behavior, the mind, and the problems of life, to people who want to listen, without the State’s permission. And it’s a windfall to the organized lobby of professional psychologists who, ultimately, become the enforcers capable of driving out competition and forcing higher prices on the public.
“The Sunset Commission’s staff report made the identical argument that the psychology board made in federal court, and this was rejected: that the public needs to be protected from psychological advice except from that of experts of whom the government approves.
“The idea of getting the ‘stakeholders’ together to come up with a new definition of the practice of psychology is doomed to fail. No definition will meet the requirements of freedom of speech consistent with the Fifth Circuit’s decision.
“On its current course, the legislature is set to generate more constitutional litigation and less choice surrounding mental health in Texas.”